Scott Willis

Host, Reporter, Producer

I’ve always been enamored with the intimacy of radio.  It’s so personal.  It forces you to listen…and listen only.  No visual distractions.  I grew up listening to mostly top 40 radio in Detroit, with no shortage of entertaining DJ’s.  As a teenager, I discovered the area’s all news station.  I loved knowing what was going on, and the intensity with which they told stories.  I often wondered what it would be like to be the first to know what was happening, and then tell others.  Maybe that’s why I pursued a career in news. 

I would go on to serve as an intern at that all-news station, and it was amazing and maybe a little overwhelming to see what it took to put out a constant stream of news.  But something was missing.  It wasn’t until after I graduated from college that I actually discovered Detroit’s public radio station at my alma mater.  What a difference!  You had time to write and tell engaging, meaningful stories, to be creative, all without the pressure to constantly crank out the news.  Quality over quantity.  That’s when I knew public radio was for me.  I was hooked.

I would hone my skills on and off for almost three years at WDET as an intern under the tutelage of a patient Assistant News Director. I produced daily stories for newscasts, but also was given the privilege of producing long-form features on topics that interested me, and that people knew very little about.  Now THAT was cool.  Right up my alley.  What budding reporter could ask for more?

I landed here in Syracuse in June 2001.  Today, I’ve come full circle, and now teach the craft to more than a dozen student reporters per week.  We work hard to choose informative stories, find the most engaging sound, and edit copy for clarity and accuracy. 

Outside of work, I spend time with my wife and little boy.  We like to take walks, travel, and read.  When I can, I’ll hop on my bike for a quick ride.

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the honor and privilege of bringing WAER’s dedicated and generous listeners the news of the day during All Things Considered.  Thanks for listening.

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DOWNTOWN DEVELOPMENT
12:54 pm
Thu June 19, 2014

Downtown Syracuse Builds on Success, Sees Growth Spreading

From left to right, Livability.com's Matt Carmichael, Downtown Committee Chair Jim Breuer, and Committee Executive Director Merike Treier talk shop before the meeting at the OnCenter.
Credit Scott Willis / WAER News

An observer of population trends and urban issues says Syracuse appears to be on the right path toward making its downtown a more thriving place.

Matt Carmichael is editor of livability.com, and was the keynote speaker at Wednesday’s annual meeting of the Downtown Committee. 

Downtown Committee Executive Director Merike Treier says downtown's growth seems to be spreading or strenghening nearby neighborhoods previously disconnected from the city's core, like the Inner Harbor and Franklin Square. 

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NY-22 PRIMARY
2:03 pm
Wed June 18, 2014

Utica-area Rep. Richard Hanna Stands by His Record as Primary Approaches

Rep. Peter King of NY-2, left, and Rep. Richard Hanna of NY-22.
Credit Scott Willis / WAER News

With primary elections a week away, Utica-area Congressmember Richard Hanna seemed to be trying to bolster his Republican credentials Tuesday by bringing Long Island colleague Representative Peter King to Central New York.  

 Hanna is facing a primary challenge from Tea Party candidate and state assemblymember Claudia Tenney of New Hartford.  She’s accused him and the Republican Party of abandoning their conservative principles of less government and lower taxes.  Hanna says he doesn’t get too mired in the politics of his positions.  

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PRIDE WEEK 2014
11:56 pm
Mon June 16, 2014

CNY Pride Week Underway; Parade Saturday

CNY Pride Board President Bruce Carter, left, helps raise the rainbow flag.
Credit Scott Willis / WAER News

Dozens gathered in front of Syracuse City Hall Monday to mark the start of CNY Pride Week with the raising of the rainbow flag.  The annual event gives the LGBT community and its supporters a chance to reflect on progress made on equal rights and the challenges remaining.  

 

Locally, Syracuse has been a leader in recognizing gay rights with others following suit.  The city adopted a  law in 1990 prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation in employment, public accommodations, and housing.

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HOME CONSTRUCTION
6:11 pm
Thu June 12, 2014

Latest Trends in Home Building Displayed In Parade of Homes

An exterior remodel from Thursday's Parade of Homes in Clay, by Martin Custom Homes
Credit Home Builders and Remodelers of CNY

Those who visit this year’s parade of homes in Clay might walk away inspired by the smallest or largest concepts, according to one of the event organizers:

“We’ve had a great crowd so far, and the nice thing is when people leave, they’re so happy, they really have gotten ideas, whether it be something as simple as new cabinets and door pulls, or they’ve found a dream house that they like the floor plan and they’re planning to build. So it’s the simple things all the way to the big things. People have been really happy with these twelve homes.”

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HOMELESS FAMILIES
3:53 pm
Wed June 11, 2014

Trauma Strongly Linked to Homeless Mothers, Mental Health Conditions

The Wilson Foundation's Megan Bell addresses leaders of the various agencies that serve Syracuse's homeless.
Credit Scott Willis / WAER News

Nearly all homeless mothers in Syracuse likely have one thing in common:  They’ve experienced trauma as a child or adult.  That’s the conclusion of a study by the National Center on Family Homelessness at the American Institute of Research.  It was funded by the Wilson Foundation based in Rochester.

Wilson Foundation Executive Director Megan Bell explains what she calls the surprising finding that traumatic experiences among mothers are more strongly linked to homelessness than common predictors.

The study found more than 90% of homeless mothers experienced trauma at much higher rates than the general public.  

  That means locally, as many as 450 women in the Salvation Army's Emergency Family Shelter last year likely brought a history of trauma.   

Director of the National Center on Family Homelessness Carmela DeCandia says trauma needs to be addressed as part of the continuum of housing and services provided to families.

 The Salvation Army of Syracuse is actually training staff to better understand the traumatic backgrounds some of their clients are likely to bring to their family shelter.  Director of Emergency and Child Welfare services Liddy Hintz  says they’re also working with a mental health services program at St. Joseph’s hospital.  

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